Depleted Town pegged back by struggling Saints

by Dave Donnelly

HARTSTOWN Hunstown were held to a 1-1 draw away to struggling Pegasus/St James Athletic as the Clonsilla club continue to consolidate their position in Leinster Senior League Senior 1B.

Pegasus/St James took the lead against the run of play 15 minutes in when a mis-hit clearance in the Hartstown Huntstown defence put Ian Donworth through on goal and he made no mistake.

The visitors didn’t allow the early concession to upset their momentum, however, and they had a number of half-chances from set-pieces before the equaliser arrived ten minutes from half time.

The second half was relatively low-key in terms of chances until the home side were awarded a penalty 20 minutes from time, only for Donworth to shoot wide from 12 yards as the game finished all-square.

Given their relative positions in the table – Pegasus/St James are on course for a second successive relegation – it was the visitors who went away the less satisfied with their lot.

However having travelled with a squad of 12 owing to suspensions and injuries, including to himself, player-manager Darren McGrath wasn’t too downhearted.

“I thought in general we had the better of the play, but with them missing a peno I suppose a draw was a fair result,” the midfielder told GazetteSport.

“We didn’t want the final whistle to come because we were well on top at that stage.

“We have a lot of injuries and suspensions at the minute, and then we had a couple of forced last-minute withdrawals due to work.

“We ended up going out with only a squad of 12. It certainly affected us making changes or swinging the game a certain way.

“That certainly covered over the disappointment as, if you look at the bare face of it with our position in the table, we’d be hoping for three points.

“While we still could have nicked it, considering we went out with a depleted squad we were happy enough to get a draw.”

The Town, who were only promoted to the intermediate ranks this year by default following the withdrawal of St Francis, have exceeded expectation so far at this level.

As one of the sides tipped to struggle at the bottom of the table, Hartstown find themselves comfortably in mid-table, although McGrath cautions against complacency.

” At the start, consolidation in the intermediate leagues was the plan. It took us a good few games to get up to the run of things. We had four draws and a loss in the first five games.

“The teams are slightly better organised in the intermediate ranks and it took a few of the lads maybe by surprise, but to be sitting mid-table after that start, I’m reasonably happy.”

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